Stem cell breakthroughs excite scientists

New clinical trial results show that stem cells can restore sufficient erectile function to allow previously impotent men to have spontaneous intercourse.

Procedure provides ‘cures’ for erectile dysfunction, lung disease, artificial blood supplies for rare blood types

Scientists are excited about recent breakthroughs in the use of adult stem cell therapy to ‘cure’ chronic disease conditions. The defeated diseases include: Erectile Dysfunction (ED); female sexual dysfunction; joint pain (all types of arthritis); diabetes mellitus; Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD); neurological disorders like spinal cord injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, autism; and any autoimmune disease like Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus.

Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus. The scientists led by the acclaimed pioneer of adult stem cell therapy in Nigeria and Medical Director of Glory Wellness & Regenerative Centre, Ikeja, Lagos, Dr. David Ikudayisi, urged the Nigerian government to get involved more and invest more in regenerative medicine as it will help improve the health status of the nation.

New clinical trial results show that stem cells can restore sufficient erectile function to allow previously impotent men to have spontaneous intercourse. This is the first time stem cell therapy has produced patients who have recovered sufficient erectile function to enable intercourse. This is an early trial, which was primarily addressing safety and dosage (a Phase 1 trial), so the results need to be interpreted accordingly.

In recent years several groups have worked to develop stem cell therapy as a cure for erectile dysfunction, but until now the improvements have not been sufficient to allow affected men to achieve full sexual intercourse. Results presented at the European Association of Urology conference in London show that eight out of 21 have successfully regained sexual function.

Lead researcher, Dr. Martha Haahr, Odense University Hospital, said: “What we have done establishes that this technique can lead to men recovering a spontaneous erection — in other words, without the use of other medicines, injections, or implants. We are now beginning a larger Phase 2 trial to better evaluate its effectiveness and confirm its safety.”

Also, a new study has found that stem cell therapy can reduce lung inflammation in an animal model of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis. Although, still at a pre-clinical stage, these findings have important potential implications for the future treatment of patients.

The findings were presented in Estoril, Portugal on March 25, 2017, at the European Respiratory Society’s Lung Science Conference. Lung damage caused by chronic inflammation in conditions such as COPD and cystic fibrosis, leads to reduced lung function and eventually respiratory failure. Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapy is currently being investigated as a promising therapeutic approach for a number of incurable, degenerative lung diseases. However, there is still limited data on the short and long-term effects of administering stem cell therapy in chronic respiratory disease.

Also, researchers have used early-stage stem cells to ‘grow’ unlimited blood in the laboratory. The artificial supplies could be used to help patients who have rare blood types. But manufacturing process is currently more expensive than blood donations.

However, the use of stem cell therapy suffered a slight set back penultimate week. In recently published papers in the New England Journal of Medicine about the use of stem cell therapy for macular degeneration, one report showed that three partially blind women became blind after the treatment with stem cells and the other report showed that an inevitable loss of vision was halted by use of stem cells in another patient.

Ikudayisi, told The Guardian: “…Examples of its effectiveness has been seen in so many patients in different studies and even in my own practice in the United States of America. There are already beneficiaries of adult stem cell therapy in Nigeria. I can say that my experience using stem cells have been great. In fact, of all the patients that I have treated, only one did not respond positively after just one treatment. This was not even done with adult stem cell therapy but Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy using the patient’s own blood. Nevertheless, there was no adverse event. The patient is recommended to do adult stem cell therapy, which will increase his chance of success. Many of the other patients showed improvements after the first treatment, and the few that needed second treatment went on to see amazing results after more treatment was done; needless to say that they were elated with the results.”

Ikudayisi, who is a United States (U.S.) Board Certified Internist with a strong passion for regenerative aesthetic and cosmetic medicine, said generally, Adult Stem Cell Therapy (ASCT) and Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRPT) are safe as shown by many published research reports and clinical trials done already.

He, however, said this does not guarantee that adverse effects cannot occur as seen in the case of the three women who had accelerated blindness two years ago (as with any other treatments in the scope of medicine).

Another recent report in March 2017 from Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University in US highlighted one of the benefits of ASCT in stroke patients. The multicenter trial showed that not only was it safe, but if ASCT is given within two days of an ischemic stroke, it could reduce the death of cells around the stroke’s core that were also injured.

Ikudayisi was born in Nigeria, where he studied medicine at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State. He won the sole Bureau for External Aids (BEA) scholarship in his state for that year to study medicine in Sechenov Moscow Medical Academy, Russia. After graduation, he went to the United States for further education.

Ikudayisi urged the Nigerian government to get involved more and invest more in regenerative medicine, as it will help improve the health status of the nation. “I come to Nigeria regularly to perform the procedure at our centres in Ikeja, Victoria Island and Abuja,” he told The Guardian.

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  • Mark Kotsatos

    I can start the discussion by asking how can I be a stem cell candidate?